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US Politicians Seek Investigation into Exclusive Handset Deals

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Four US Senators have written to the USA's telecoms regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) asking for an investigating into whether exclusive deals between network operators and handset manufacturers are anti competitive.

In a letter sent to Michael Copps, acting chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the senators said they were concerned about exclusivity. The move follows an increasing trend, typified by by AT&T's iPhone deal for operators to secure exclusive access to new handsets as they are released.

Democrats John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet; Byron Dorgan of North Dakota; Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican, signed the letter dated  June 15th.

An earlier letter sent last week by the Rural Cellular Association (RCA), commented on the recent decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit supporting its position that handset exclusivity agreements harm consumers and impede marketplace competition. The RCA started petitioning the FCC on the issue last May.

In the Senator's letter, they advised that "the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation will convene a hearing this week to examine issue confronting wireless consumers. The subject of exclusivity agreements between wireless carriers and handset manufacturers will be a focal point of this hearing and the record will help determine whether legislative action is also necessary"

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Tags: federal communications commission  iphone  court